Oreos! One of life’s little indulgences. I mean, after all, there are worse things I could do right? Tell me if this sounds familiar. “Oooh, a bag of Oreos! I shouldn’t really but I will open it and have a few. Those were good, maybe just one more, or two, that couldn’t hurt anything, could it? Maybe three. Wow, I like those. Maybe I will have another four or five more, and just skip dinner. What is this stuff inside? Maybe I shoulda got the double-stuf. Where is the milk? These are good dunked. I will have another 5 or 6 and do a few extra sit-ups tonight before bed. Huh? There are only seven more left in the bag; I guess I will finish those off. What’s the use of trying to save 7 cookies for later? That’s like saving one gulp of milk in the carton. Isn’t it? Wow! I am full. Hey, who ate my bag of Oreos?”
Does that sound familiar? We start off with innocent intentions and before we know it we are consumed by the quest for gratification. Like a moth, we see the flame, feel the flame, desire to fly ever nearer to the flame, maybe smell it, or touch it and suddenly we are consumed in a puff of smoldering protein. It may not be a package of Oreos or a flame that entices you, but we all have something that lures us to the depths of reckless abandonment of discipline. Yeah, you know what I am talking about.
The book of James in the Bible wraps it up nicely in chapter 1:14-15, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”
“Hey Kelly, it’s a cookie for crying out loud, loosen up, eh?”
James is clarifying the sin process for us. It starts with lust… a strong desire to enjoy something you are not enjoying. When we have allowed our minds to mentally gorge on that possible reward, it has been conceived, or been given hope and life. It’s only a matter time…All that waits is the birth of sin; the birth of realization and with that door being opened, gratification will lead to the morbid fatality of hedonism.
“Again, Kelly, can I remind you that it is just a cookie?”
Forget about the cookie, I am just using that to make a point. We expose ourselves to this kind of thinking everyday. We see something, we want it, we rationalize just a wee bit (“just one cookie”), we compromise (“a few more”) and before you know it the whole bag is gone, so to speak, and we are left with that empty feeling. Now, you know what I am talking about! And we don’t even quite realize all that we have done until we sit back, and are convicted by the jury of the empty blue bag, and milk carton. “We the wrappings find you guilty!” Arrgghh! – The long blue finger of condemnation.
“So. What I am supposed to do about it, Mr. Cookie Drama Queen?”
Hey, don’t ask me, let’s see what Paul told the Corinthians, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
That tells us that there are really no new temptations out there, but for every temptation there is a way of escape, a way out. Just knowing that gives us the wisdom to be looking for the escape hatch; God is always faithful to provide one. If we fail, it is because we have decided not to utilize the way out, given by God. He wants to help us out.
So don’t blame the devil if you blow it; He didn’t make you do it. He didn’t make you eat that whole bag. You did it on your own. Instead, keep your eyes open and, for that matter, don’t even go near the flame, that ominous blue flame.